As the warm weather and banks of gently bobbing daffodils inspire visions of freshly scrubbed tile, crisp linen, fluttering curtains, and other spring cleaning projects, we at the Daily Plant also encourage park-lovers to turn their thoughts to spring greening opportunities. Spring has sprung, and it is a season of renewal—not just a chance to finally wedge that closet door shut, but an opportunity to nurture our open spaces and to foster community by pitching in with other volunteers.
Opportunities for restoration and beautification abound at Parks. Consider taking advantage of the following chances to get out and give back:
- The Adopt-a-Park or Adopt-a-Bench programs. Adopt-a-Park projects can be as large as converting a paved, unused traffic island into green spaces filled with trees and flowers; renovating old playgrounds; or resurfacing a basketball court. Donations for smaller projects, such as flower displays or water bowls and tennis balls for dog runs, are also welcome. Bench donations through Adopt-a-Bench, which begin at $2500, go towards the upkeep and maintenance of a particular bench for 10 years. Bench sponsors receive a small plaque with a personalized message or inscription. To learn more about the Adopt-A-Park and Adopt-A-Bench programs, please visit www.nyc.gov/parks.
- Million Trees NYC Planting Days. Want to help revitalize New York City’s urban forest? Get involved in the planting program through requesting a tree for your block, planting a tree on your own, or attending a volunteer tree planting event. Find a calendar of upcoming tree events, as well as a do-it-yourself guide to planting and caring for trees, on the Million Trees NYC website, www.milliontreesnyc.org.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle through the Staten Island Stop ‘N’ Swap. Coordinated through GrowNYC, community swaps are the perfect opportunity to pass along things you no longer need, bring home great finds, prevent waste, and encourage material reuse. The next free swap will take place as part of the St. George Earth Day and Arts Festival on Saturday, April 21, from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. at Little Bay Street and Victory Blvd.
- Join a GreenThumb community garden. With more than 800 active community gardens throughout the five boroughs, GreenThumb provides everything from beautiful open spaces for relaxation to full-fledged urban farms. Whether increasing biodiversity and reducing air pollution, or bringing neighbors together and promoting physical well-being, community gardens benefit everyone. Walk around your neighborhood and check out existing gardens, or visit www.gardenmaps.org to locate a green space near you.
Finally, check out a video about Little Leagues pitching in at Crocheron Park at www.youtube.com/nycparksdepartment, compliments of It’s My Park.
Looking to do some actual spring cleaning, and hoping to minimize your environmental impact while doing so? Peruse the following suggestions for green spring cleaning:
- Use what you already have—instead of accumulating piles of dirty paper towels or buying sponges that will be thrown away after a few uses, re-purpose old t-shirts, bleach-stained towels, or orphan socks.
- To limit water use while washing dishes, fill up one bowl with soapy water and another bowl with fresh. If you do use a dishwasher, use the air dry option to limit energy use.
- Avoid harsh, harmful chemicals by making your own cheap, non-toxic cleaning products at home with basic ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. For a full tip sheet on how to whip up these simple products, contact the Green Guru in your office, or visit the Sustainable Parks Task Force on the Intranet.
- If you drive, take your vehicle to a car wash, or pull out the hose and a sponge and put in some elbow grease—clean vehicles get better fuel economy than dirty ones!
- The Parks Department operates in-house programs for the recycling or safe disposal of many items, including rechargeable batteries, motor oil, laser printer cartridges, and cell phones.
- Bring the outdoors in by getting a house plant. Indoor plants do more than just brighten the home; they improve air quality and have been proven to have stress-reducing neurological benefits. A NASA study on the best air-filtering house plants identified English Ivy, peace lilies, Gerbera daisies, and rubber plants, among others.
Written by Laura Skove, Public Affairs Intern
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“When spring came, even false spring,
there were no problems except where to be happiest.”
A Moveable Feast (1964)